Throughout my life, I have kept a regular journal on and off throughout the years. I have a stack of journals from elementary, high school and college in our basement. Currently, I have been keeping a one sentence journal up to date. I am looking at options (Office Drop for the outsource and my ScanSnap for cheaper in dollars and more expensive in time) to digitally capture these journals to store for the future on Evernote (Is that even going to be effective?)
I enjoy looking back at my perspective and important events from years ago. In the future, I hope to be able to do the same for my life today. I do not believe that Facebook will be a useful tool to reflect on my life in the future. The birthday wishes, comments and status updates fade into the internet, unlike a birthday card that is received in the mail. Even scanning a birthday card captures the color, handwriting and sentiments that were expressed at a particular time in the past.
I recently finished reading The Rabbit and the Elephant: Why Small Is the New Big for Today’s Church by Tony & Felicity Dale and George Barna. This book offers the perspective that the church may be more effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ by multiplying rapidly rather than seeking to grow larger. The authors offer both practical tips and a thought framework for launching house churches and creating networks.
Tony and Felicity Dale share their stories of house church planting in both England and the United States. Some of their reminders include listening to God, focus on prayer and to model a simple pattern so that it can easily be repeated.
An outline for engagement in a house church is taken from Acts 2:42 – apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking bread together and prayer. Each gathering includes conversation, a meal and prayer. None of these are to be the best possible (for example a gourmet chef) to encourage the participation of all. The authors suggest a framework for teaching which involves studying the scripture in a community and using symbols as a guide to the conversation.
Question mark – “something we don’t understand”
Lightbulb – “something that sheds light, either on that passage of Scripture or something going on in a person’s life”
Arrow – “represents God piercing a person’s heart – he or she has heard from God and needs to do something about it.”
The authors suggest that it is important to consider starting new groups with new people rather than assimilating others into existing groups. They suggest looking for a person whose leadership could be key in influencing a new circle of people to start the next group – a “person of peace” (see Luke 10:5-6). Finding this person of peace may be accomplished by telling one’s story as this can be a key opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They suggest this simple pattern for sharing (pg 135):
What was life like before you became a Christian (or before your faith became real to you)?
How did you meet Jesus?
How has Jesus changed your life?
I found particularly important the reminder that there will be a difficult time of transition for persons who are moving from a more traditional form of church to a micro church. It will not be what it was, nor will it likely be exactly what is envisioned when first starting out.
Many of the themes in this book were quite helpful for those considering the possibility of living out one’s faith in a micro church. Unfortunately, the book did not flow smoothly from beginning to end and there were parts of several chapters that did not add to the advancement of the thesis. Nonetheless, this was a solid book and I recommend it for anyone considering a life of faith in a micro church.
My wife, Nicole, and went to see Disney’s Up in RealD 3D. It was a fantastic movie. I laughed, I cried and I connected with the characters. It was my first 3-D movie, as well, and it was very well done. The 3-D added to the experience and was not used gratuitously. Along with enjoying the entertainment, I felt a strong leadership lesson for the church.
The opening sequence of the movie provides a moving biography of one of the main characters. It brings context to the present and provides motivation for actions in the present.
The same is true for congregations.
Every existing congregation has a story that brings purpose and shape to current and future actions. This can happen both intentionally and unintentionally. If you are a leader in a church, you need to know its story.
Last night I had the great opportunity to serve communion at KidsCOR for family communion which gives families an opportunity to receive communion together as a family. One of the interactions with the kids was priceless.
Child: (a few feet away, to Mom) What do I do?
Mom: You go get the bread first.
(Child receives bread from server. I kneel down and offer the cup of juice.)
Me: The cup of salvation for you. Dip your bread in the cup.
Child: (dips bread in cup and steps back a couple steps) When do I eat it?
Me: Right now. You can eat it right now.
Child: (exclaims) This is good juice!
Me: (recognize the profundity of his statement) It is good.
Communion is good. Christ for all is very goood news.